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Greece looks to take command of group C September 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.

‘We intend to defend the top spot by playing with heart and mind,’ the National soccer team’s coach Otto Rehhagel told reporters at Athens airport yesterday.

Greece, the frontrunner in Group C for a place at the Euro 2008 finals, is hosted by second-placed Norway tomorrow. The Norwegians lie two points behind but Greece has a game in hand.

Greece will be looking to maintain top spot in its Euro 2008 qualifying group when it meets second-placed Norway in Oslo tomorrow night. The frontrunner in Group C for a berth at the Euro 2008 soccer finals, Greece would take further command with a win, or even draw, in tomorrow’s encounter.

Though Greece did not play in last Saturday’s round of Group C games, it proved to be a constructive night for Rehhagel’s men. Most results produced by the seven-team group’s three other pairs favored Greece’s interests.

Apart from Norway, a poor starter in its qualifying campaign, which continued its revival in Group C with a 1-0 win at Moldova to trail Greece by two points in Group C, the rest of the challengers faltered. The Norwegians have played an additional game, eight in total. Third-placed Turkey drew in Malta and Bosnia-Herzegovina, currently fourth and, realistically, the group’s only other team with a chance of qualifying, lost against Hungary in Budapest. Greece leads with 18 points from seven games. Norway follows on 16 points from eight games. Turkey is third on 14 points from seven games. After eight games, Bosnia-Herzegovina is on 13 points. The top two qualify.

Rehhagel will be without two strikers, Angelos Charisteas of Nuremberg and Yiannis Amanatidis of Eintracht Frankfurt, both injured. Just days ago, Greece’s German coach, who became a National hero here after leading Greece to its European title in 2004, was quoted as telling German daily Bild that he felt more Greek than ever as a result of the recent wildfires that ravaged the country and led to the loss of nearly 70 lives.

Meanwhile, in Greek club-level soccer, Dusan Bajevic, the coach who has won scores of titles at AEK, Olympiakos and PAOK, begins his latest job at Aris today. Bajevic signed a three-year deal with the Thessaloniki team.

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